A Trip & A Trick

5 Sep

Short and sweet.

Andes Door

A trip needn’t be to a far away land to be edifying. Then again, a trip needn’t take long to be to a far away place.

The Catskills are a trip, that’s for sure.


They’re the home of the Borscht Belt and the Anti-Rent War and sublimely beautiful. It’s like walking 100 years into the past with your funny Uncle Morty. It’s hard not to feel relaxed up there.

And so that’s what we did, relaxed. Relaxed with wine. Relaxed with bocce, croquette and Trivial Pursuit. Relaxed while relaxing. Relaxed while cooking and grilling and eating and shopping.

Wild Door

And so, you’ll have to forgive me that there are no pictures of the absolutely essential recipe that I’ve been told I must broadcast to the wider world.  I was so relaxed I forgot to take pictures (it’s not an attractive dish anyway, all those dark colors and char-y bits).

Grilled Radicchio.

Here’s what you do: Take a radicchio, clean it and then split it into quarters. Make sure each piece has a bit of core to hold it all together. Figure on two quarters (or half a radicchio) per person. Set aside.

Chop up a clove of garlic per person, mince it finely and put it into a large dish with a cover that will accomodate all the radicchio once it comes off the grill. Add a large glug of good balsamic vinegar, a healthy glug of olive oil, some salt and about a tea spoon of something sweet; sugar, honey, molasses, any of them would work. Set aside.

Grill the radicchio quarters until the outside leaves are nice and charred, immediately remove from the grill to the covered dish, put the cover on and shake it all about so that everything is coated. Set aside until the rest of dinner’s ready. Enjoy.

Door Knocker

I can’t remember where I got this idea from. I suspect it was from Martha or Mario, but I just can’t be sure. What I do know is that this is a real winner. The fire and the sweet vinegar mellow the bitter radicchio and turn it into something magical. It’s especially good with steak.

And so that’s it. Summer’s “over.” Poof! Just like that. I’m kind of relieved to be honest. No more travelling. No more weddings. Just a month of weekends at home with the year’s best produce.

Door Bell

I can’t wait to get back into the kitchen. What are you looking forward to cooking now that we can all breathe a sigh of relief and sit back and enjoy the cooler weather?


17 Responses to “A Trip & A Trick”

  1. Kevin September 5, 2007 at 8:16 am #

    I’m looking forward to anything out of the oven: pizza, baguette, braised meats. Even stock. It’s cool enough at night that my back patio can act as a ‘walk-in fridge’ at night rather than a blast furnace to dry herbs.

  2. izzy's mama September 5, 2007 at 11:46 am #

    Just looking forward to being able to cook without sweating!

    About that grilled radicchio. They used to make that at the Essex House Hotel when I worked there so I got turned off to the idea, their version was rather bitter. Sounds like the sweetness is just what it needs.

  3. Mary September 5, 2007 at 3:42 pm #

    This sounds divine, don’t worry about the lack of picture, the rest of the photos are great. I’m just getting used to this end of summer idea and have started thinking about roast chicken and the stock I’ll make from the bones.

  4. Christina September 5, 2007 at 7:37 pm #

    It still isn’t cool enough to think about fall food out here.

    I love grilled radicchio–my parents make it and it works so well against a rich grilled meat. Thanks for sharing its simple goodness with everyone.

    I love love love that elephant knocker; it’s so charming and Jungle Book!

  5. ann September 5, 2007 at 9:06 pm #

    Kevin — You and me both boy! I cannot wait to start baking bread again!

    Izzy’s Mama — I hear you about things ruined by restaurant stints. I still can’t look a salmon in the eye.

    Mary — Thanks! I can’t wait to roast a chicken too. Goes hand in hand with fresh baked bread!

    Christina — Isn’t he gorgeous?!

  6. Terry B September 5, 2007 at 9:36 pm #

    Ann—This sounds delicious, a mix of bitter, sweet and smoke. Wow. I’m curious, though. Doesn’t the radicchio need a little oil before grilling?

  7. Lydia September 5, 2007 at 10:30 pm #

    Wow, the radicchio sounds delicious. Will have to try this method. I’m looking forward to cooking stews of all kinds, and big pots of soups — bean, squash, tomato — all kinds of soups. Oh, and baking bread.

  8. ann September 6, 2007 at 6:50 am #

    Terry — Nope, no oil. You can if you’re chicken (just kidding). But seroiusly, in the past I’ve used oil and this time I decided it was really of no use and I think I’m right. You’ll have some serious charring around the edges, but that’s really what you’re going for so it’s okay. You want a mix of really well cooked, slightly mooshie and deliciously crisp. It’s a good side dish!

    Lydia — Oh soups! Good call. I miss them so much, mainly because the Boy is the main soupier and I get to relax on the couch.

  9. radish September 6, 2007 at 12:57 pm #

    What lovely pictures! I’ve never been to Catskills and you just made me want to drop everything and go!! :) yes, summer is over and while i had a superb summer this year, I am VERY ready for fall, sweaters, cider and all. I can’t wait to go apple-picking – it’s the quintessential thing to do this season!

  10. Lisa (Homesick Texan) September 6, 2007 at 6:10 pm #

    I can’t wait to make my first batch of TEXAS RED!!!!!!!!

  11. ann September 7, 2007 at 8:08 am #

    Radish — Go apple picking in the Catskills ;-) One of the great things about the mountains up there is that they’re on the way to the Finger Lakes, a great autumn get away if ever there was one.

    Lisa(ht) — And we all can’t wait to be invited over for some!

  12. izzy's mama September 7, 2007 at 8:56 am #

    What happened to you with salmon? I went through a phase of not eating smoked salmon after I was forced to slice 10 sides of it at a time..I was coated in salmon oil and stank for days! Once again, blame the Essex House.

  13. hungrygirl September 8, 2007 at 7:55 am #

    Roasted tomatoes

    Roasted beets

    Roast chicken

    (with gravy and mashed potatoes)

    Anything roasted.

  14. Carolyn T September 8, 2007 at 8:45 pm #

    When the weather begins to cool off I’m already on a roll to start baking something with pumpkin. First it’s pumpkin pie, or pumpkin cake, also winter squash soup (butternut preferred). I also make a raised (not sweet) pumpkin raisin bread for sandwiches. Just doesn’t seem right to make those when the weather is hot. Must be something in the genes that tell us we’re supposed to eat seasonally.

  15. ann September 10, 2007 at 8:18 am #

    Izzy’s Mama — The exact same thing happened to me, except it was months and months of preparing salmon tartatre. Never again will my hands touch raw salmon. *shiver*

    Hungrygirl — So I guess what you’re trying to tell us is you’re psyched for roasting? Just kidding! Me too!

    Carolyn T — I’ll leave the pumpkins to you. They’re the one squash I am not a fan of. I can’t put my finger on why, but, they just don’t do it for me! Spaghetti squash though… A whole ‘nother story!

  16. shuna fish lydon September 15, 2007 at 1:41 am #

    i love this post. it makes me feel cozy and relaxed.

    (hot cocoa for supper is my answer.)

  17. ann September 15, 2007 at 11:00 am #

    Hi Shuna! — Thanks, that’s a nice compliment :-) I’ve never had hot cocoa for dinner, I’ll have to give it a try!

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